When Corentin Coadou moved to Valdosta from France five years ago, he spoke no English. The then 16-year-old used something other than words to communicate — movement.
Coadou said dance became his voice as he made a home for himself in a foreign land. Dance was his way of showing everyone who he was. Now, as a junior dance major at Valdosta State University, he’s as in love with the artform as ever.
Hear what Coadou had to say about how dance helps him to lose himself and find himself both on and off the stage.
Q: Why do you dance?
A: I dance to be heard. I dance to silence the world around me. I dance because I’m free to do whatever I want, to express anything I want through my dance. It gives me a lot of energy. You would think dancing would get me really tired, but it actually does the opposite.
Q: What are your favorite types of dance?
A: Street jazz and heels. I do a lot of heels dancing. Yanis Marshall was actually my choreographer back in France.
Q: What are some struggles and obstacles you’ve had to overcome as a dancer?
A: People look at you because you are different in the way you dance. For example, me in heels, it’s not normal to everybody. But that’s also what I like. I like to be different and to show them that’s how I dance because I can. The only thing you can do is watch.
Q: What are some misconceptions you feel people have about the dance world?
A: A lot of people consider it as not a sport. To them we’re just having a little bit of fun because they don’t know what goes into it. They don’t know how long rehearsals and workouts are. They don’t see how hard it really is.
Q: What do you feel and think right before you go on stage?
A: Right before going on stage, I’m really nervous and stressed, but as soon as I hit the stage, it’s a really happy place. To me it’s like an explosion in that you feel so strong and vulnerable at the same time. You’re free to do anything that you want. It’s like a big party. I have this sensation where I literally forget about everything — my problems, things that make me happy, everything. It’s just my dancing, and it’s the only thing I think about. On stage, it’s like home. I just feel comfortable.
Q: What has dance taught you about life?
A: A lot of things. First, I’ve noticed that I’m very confident now because of dance. In dance I can do whatever I want, so now in life I think the same way.
Q: What is it like being in VSU’s dance program?
A: We’re all very close and we all help each other. The teachers are always here to help us. We’re a big group of friends.
Q: What have you learned and gained here at VSU?
A: How technique is important. Because before that, I would just put my heels on and dance, and I would hurt myself a lot of times. Here they teach you how to properly dance and how to not hurt yourself.
Q: Where do you hope to dance after college?
A: I would love to teach and travel, but before all of that, I want to perform as much as I can, until my body is tired. My goal is to get my master’s degree and then teach wherever I can.
Learn about Valdosta State University’s dance program today!